An 'A' for Effort: Congresswoman Gives High Marks to Long-Delayed Second Avenue Subway Project

May 16, 2016
In The News

New Yorkers who've waited decades for a subway line on Second Avenue may not agree, but the long-running and nearly completed project is getting high marks from a Congresswoman who was vital in securing federal funds to build the line. Transit Reporter Jose Martinez has the story.

The nearly century-long effort to bring a subway to Second Avenue is not done yet as the clock ticks down toward a hoped-for December opening of three new stations.

But Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney on Monday gave the MTA an A- grade for effort on a job the agency says is 94% completed.

"If they don't meet the deadline, I'm going to give them an F," Maloney said. "But I'm giving them an A-minus thinking they're going to live up to their deadline!"

The MTA is racing to meet the end-of-year-goal, recently pouring another $66 million into the more than $4 billion project so contractors pick up the pace.

"This is too long, we've waited so long," Maloney said.

However, residents and shopkeepers who long ago grew weary of having Second Avenue double as a construction zone may have to wait a little longer.

The MTA's Independent Engineering Consultant last month said the project is at risk of not opening on time if contractors do not accelerate work on elevators and escalators at the 72nd Street station.

All the systems at the three new stations - as well at the existing Lexington Avenue-63rd Street stop - need to be in working order before Q trains can begin running to and from the Upper East Side.

And, in testing and making a "seamless transition" to the next phase to extend the line north to 125th Street, Maloney handed out C's.

"They had planned that they would have 10 months of testing," Maloney said. "They're going to have roughly four to three months testing."

That is making many along the route antsy, after they've already endured years of work.

"I get people at least a couple of times a week who say, 'I've been here for 10-plus years and I didn't even know you guys were still here,'" said Maurice Newkirk, a manager at Klausner Supply.

"People don't really want to associate themselves with Second Avenue that much," said Sammy Musovic, owner at Vero. "They know there's too much going on, too much debris, construction."

"They're ambitious, in a word, at this point," said one neighbor.

Now there are a little more than seven months to find out if the high marks stand.

Maloney says she's optimistic that she won't have to go back and change the final grade on a report that, for now, is written in pencil.